Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

See and share Beautiful Nature Photos and amazing photos of interesting places

Cyndi MacMillan's Blog

About Cyndi MacMillan
(Show Details...)
Bloggers Photo

Cyndi MacMillan is a well-rounded writer who embraces many genres and forms. Her work has been published in local newspapers and has won contests. She enjoys reading literary journals, and she is actively pursuing publication within their glossy covers.

Verse is both magnetic and kinetic. She attempts - madly- to give equal attention to her poetry, short stories, and a novel-in-progress, the Trim of Wicks.  Regardless of genre, she focuses on language. One word has the power to repel or pull. She never forgets the reader and does her best to make their ride interesting.

Poetry soup is a good forum which enables people from around the world to share poetry. It has some great resources and provides a nice space for friends to meet.

Cyndi lives in a small town in Ontario with her husband, young daughter and far too many books.



Blog Posted:7/24/2013 8:48:00 PM

I was going to wait to write this blog until after my move is finished, but - instead- I was 'moved' to do so tonight. It will be shorter, lol, than if I'd waited, but what the hey...

Most likely all free verse poets go through a stage where they are not certain about line spacing. I am currently in this stage. I play with lines and I bounce back and forth between two ideologies.

#1) Breaks are an integral part of all verse and are necessary to direct the reader. Free verse does not require a poet to keep "fixed breaks" and therefore the poet can truly use white space to his/her advantage, for effect, to heighten emotion, to move the reader, to provide additional 'clues' to the reader for interpretation and meaning, to place emphasis and focus, when and how one wishes. One line can be singled out, pushed upon the reader, thereby slamming intent home. Many beat poets went wild with breaks, pushed the envelope and reconceptualised poetry, gave it new dimension.

#2) Breaks are an integral part of all verse, BUT the words themselves carry the weight of the poem. Breaks, even in free verse, CAN be fixed, measured. Verses can be arranged into couplets, tercets or quatrains and lines are kept at close to the same length. Many of todays free versers see that by setting perimeters, keeping line breaks PREDICTABLE, that the words bear the full weight of the poem, its beginning, middle and ending. Each word counts. This type of poet accepts the reader will place stress where he/she finds it...

I "get" the second approach. LOVE the second approach, but I keep diving back into the first approach, because, let's face it, its dramatic effect is profound.

I am trying to find my voice, a style that is my own, a favoured methodology, and I wonder if or when I will finally choose how I will break my lines...

Here is something I just wrote, two versions. I prefer version 1. This feels more "me" and yet version 2 may appeal more to the reader... be more ... intense? Directed? Eye-friendly???

Let me know what you think about line breaks. 

LOL. Or tell me to just go write and stop THINKING. ;) All comments welcome. 


Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau

Age?  13

PIMPED (Version 1)

Like horseflesh, a filly stabled by billboards
flares thin nostrils. Her mane deceives, looks
untamed, a lie for she has been subjected to

six hours of grooming, polished and primped,
false-lashed and pimped into six inch stilettos
to model a shell-pink lace thong. Oh, delicate

hook of youth posturing as a whore. And all the
while a predator salivates, imagines this nubile
girl gyrating for him alone, adoring and servile.

She is just fifteen, keeps a bear on her bed,
makes pompoms, collects green sea glass, eats
Cocoa Puffs and devours Teen Magazines.

Last week a stranger called her Mona Lisa.
Eyes wide, she replied, but my name is Mara.
He licked his lips, promised to take her to Paris,

teach her all she should know, mentioned

ambrosia, spanning stars, but his grin,
his awful, wet grin, blazed a branding.

PIMPED (version 2)

Like horseflesh, a filly

stabled by billboards
flares thin nostrils

Her mane deceives, looks untamed,
a lie, for she has been subjected to
six hours of grooming
polished and primped, false-lashed and


into six inch stilettos
to model a shell-pink thong

Oh, delicate hook of youth

posturing as a whore

and all the while
a predator salivates

imagines this nubile girl

for him alone

She is just fifteen,
keeps a bear on her bed, makes
pompoms, collects green
sea glass, eats
Cocoa Puffs and devours
Teen Magazines

Last week a stranger

called her Mona Lisa

Eyes wide, she replied

but my name is Mara

He licked his lips, promised to

take her to Paris, teach her

all she should know

mentioned ambrosia, spanning
stars, but his grin
his awful, wet grin, blazed

a branding


Please Login
  1. Date: 8/5/2013 10:52:00 AM
    Line spacing, line breaks are one of the many tools in the toolbox of a mature writer. Everyone ha their favorite tools BUT it's nice to have more than 1 {end rhyme} and to use the tool purposefully, not accidentally! [Hey Dee MUCH THANKS ;) ;) read my Bloody Bloomin' Roses & Not Pretty in Pink]

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/30/2013 4:24:00 AM
    I agree with Aechtner. Who would be bold enough to argue with what seems to me his clear reasoning? Version 1 reads (to me) in exactly the way the breaks in Version 2 suggest. To put it another way, in my view the breaks in Version 2 are entirely superfluous, and merely suggest a flavour of modernism, while contributing nothing to the meaning of the poem. I'm afraid that, in general, modernist poetry, replete with breaks, one-word lines, randomly placed exclamation marks, bold type-face, etc., leaves me cold and tempted to skip through it rapidly. Cyndi, I liked your Version 1 a lot, but hated Version 2. That's my five cents I guess.

    Login to Reply
    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 8/5/2013 11:00:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    though I prefer to write like #2 personally when I do I have a reason [Charlotte's type of point, the topic calls for the scattered feel given by the content] I do agree with you as well Syd, so many who 'present' like version #2 simply do it that way because the 'trend' is to......
  1. Date: 7/27/2013 4:12:00 PM
    I like the first version. Three lines stanzas give a story progression that was climactic. Well done, Cyndi.

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/26/2013 9:08:00 AM
    Both are terrific poems, but the second appeals to me more than the first.... perhaps because I'm a fan of the free style, who prefers the freedom of poetry with as little restriction as possible, for the deepest emphasis, and emotion to be as gripping as possible. I want to be moved deeply by a poem. For me, that touchstone of emotion comes harder with too much format, strict rhyme, syllable count, etc. But that is just my own personal observation....others would disagree I'm sure. Great content, Cyndi!

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 11:54:00 PM
    Just read them both again, more thoughtfully this time and realized the first one is not so bad in its formatting. But I still prefer the second. From what i have studied about free verse, the second one is also the most popular style to use for free verse. GREAT poetry no matter how presented.

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 8:31:00 PM
    Cyndi....the first.....perfect!....the second.....the break to the last line....a branding.....makes it even more perfect! Stays with the reader like....i don't drink! Maybe a fine wine! Jimbo

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 5:26:00 PM
    Reading through the comments, many of which are terse, I am now wondering if I was only supposed to state which version I enjoy better? If so -- oooops! For now I'll spare people with the 2nd % of my thoughts on formatting/layout(let alone the other 98% of my thoughts concerning this topic lol).

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 4:04:00 PM
    I didn't mention it earlier, but since others have, I prefer #1. It's much tighter in its language and structure, succinct, and for what it's worth, it's visually more attractive than #2. Visual counts a lot with me, but I know that's not true for everyone, maybe no one else. Oh well...

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 1:40:00 PM
    both are really good, cyn, though i am partial to the second only because it's a tad different from your otherwise stylish pieces... the brevity of the latter makes it totally solid!.... and true, we need breaks, phrasings, PAUSES to give the reader a brief moment to savor what lies ahead... good to see you, hun! and huggs!..:)

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 9:43:00 AM
    coming back to see what people have said, I'm really surprised to see most people going for the second version, very interesting, it seems I'm in a majority of one (story of my life!) lol

    Login to Reply
    Dietrich Avatar Andrea Dietrich Date: 7/25/2013 2:54:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    charlotte, I also think that our styles of writing reflect which one we will prefer. You are a deep writer with unusual imagery. So you and Drake, for example, are going for the more difficult of the two versions. I don't like that first one at all. It's just too weird for the way I am programmed to think.
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 7:42:00 AM
    I agree with the prior comments about #2 being the better version. I'm almost completely untutored in writing poetry, so take my comments with a very large grain of salt. I think breaks should be at logical points, changes in intent of the verse, or for emphasis, all of which you have done. Breaks may also occur within a line, as if for a breath or for emphasis. I also think punctuation should be consistent, unless there is an intended run-on of words or ideas. I struggle with line length; where do I cut it, or do I cut it? Remember that I'm speaking just for myself here. I love the poem. It hits hard at a practice that infuriates and sickens me. Thanks for writing it. Jack

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 6:59:00 AM
    The second one both looks and reads MUCH better. Without a question.

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 6:29:00 AM
    YiP! I like the second one best. There is no right or wrong. It allows the reader to savour the different thoughts.... Write whichever feels comfortable for you and the subject will dictate the "form". Also, see Chris' "Closer" where he took White space to the next level. Love, Su

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 6:24:00 AM
    I like both but I think the second hits harder and is more difficult to speed read which the untrained poem reader too frequently does and therefore forces one to think about the message and hear it much more like a passionate conversation or video that unfolds scene by scene.

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 5:12:00 AM
    Hi Cyndi - Version 2 definitely appeals to me much more.....and yes as mentioned below for me it's the intensity and focus with which the line breaks lead me as the reader. I am so glad you posted something on this i guess creatively line breaks provide much more light and shade and the opportunity to engage the reader or emphasise a message or vision within the piece....really enjoyed the read......Shaz

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 5:05:00 AM
    one more thing! I think line spacing can be determined by the actual content of the poem, so, for example, a poem about being in a confused state of mind would benefit from having disjointed line breaks, the line breaks become an integral part of the poem's content and add something to it...

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 4:32:00 AM
    it's a wonderful, hard hitting poem, that's for sure, but I prefer the first version, I find it easier to read and absorb...for me, the broken lines and free floating words in the second version serve as a bit of a distraction from the heavy, emotional honest opinion...another thought, an editor once slapped my wrist for using 'oh' in poems, said it's outdated now, I used to use it quite a lot but hardly ever do now, but I think in this poem you can get away with it! :)

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/25/2013 3:48:00 AM
    I love version two Cyndi and I'm learning through such interesting blogs you bring to surface.

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/24/2013 11:12:00 PM
    *cont'd* My comment below might be a little confusing to read, and I only scratched 1% of the surface with regards to my thoughts on this matter lol. Blah-blah-blah-blah :P Ok, so with wot I mentioned concerning how I believe a lot of writers might not ponder/meditate on just how differently people could track and internalize, the second version of your poem is very close to how I naturally internalize your poem, whether I read silently or out-loud, yet the first and last two stanzas of your first example, are also how I might naturally track and internalize(where I might slow down/speed up/pause, switch tone). Hmmm, that might seem a bit like a paradox? For writers who take this topic seriously, expanding it into hands-on workshops/discussions were poems are tinkered with in several ways, offering several different results for each piece; and each piece analyzed by several unique viewpoints and well worth beyond its weight in gold(<----another cliche :P). Take this site for example. There are many poets who come up with fantastic imagery and themes, who can keep a consistent thread, etc, but their breaks(and not just breaks, but also putting punctuation in areas, in-between words, where it doesn't feasibly make any sense wotsoever by any stretch of the imagination or renderings of poetic license)absolutely murder the read(within my biased, subjective taste, at least).

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/24/2013 11:04:00 PM
    This is a HUGE topic. I've pondered on lines breaks ever since I first picked up a pen. There are no magic, universal template-answers for this(at least for me). Personally, I believe the writer should take some accountability to visually present something which can possibly help guide the reader through, without being too pushy, without forcing things too much(gentle guides who as the leader of their own poem -- and as all great leaders should do -- step aside, let people walk beside and ahead, as well). But then again, internally, we can digest so differently, that our internal reading voices differ like a night and day cliche. For me this is one of the most important areas of this topic. No matter if one leans towards #1 or #wotever of style/opinions, I think there are many occasions when the writer doesn't take enough accountability to realize just how differently other people physically track words and internalize(yeah, there are no template answers; a lot depends on the circumstances). With free verse, if one doesn't want to use punctuation(or barely any), I am from the school of thought that this is when spacing and experimental line-breaks can really make up for it....or it can turn the piece into a grinding nightmare to read. So if a "free verser" wants to completely disregard punctuation, yet keep structure/formatting in many of the conventional, 'classic' ways, for me, this is when ugly things can happen when someone else reads the poem. Yes, the entire syntax of the poem might make sense to the writer, but as soon as an audience begins to read(obviously people who weren't in the mind of the writer when the poem was produced), a lot of people end up shaking their heads; get lost while reading.

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 7/24/2013 10:21:00 PM
    I like the look of number 1 and how it flows, number 2 has the impact of her harsh realities; she's someones daughter! 2 looks aural compared to1, which is a brilliant read!

    Login to Reply
    Papyri Avatar Fiery Papyri Date: 7/25/2013 5:54:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Do what feels good to you! Decorate Cyndi's way!
  1. Date: 7/24/2013 9:20:00 PM
    I don't mean to "hog your blog" but just want to thank you for posting it. I have been meaning to do one along the same lines but just never could get my act together, when I would think of it. BTW, so good to see you AND Tracie back. I have missed you both.

    Login to Reply
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 7/24/2013 9:32:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Not hogging at all. I'm not 100% back, not quite yet, but thanks, good to see you, too. And YES I am almost jumping up and down to see Tracie back. Her spirit, energy and playfulness was very missed, as well as her inspiring ways. Hope you're well...
  1. Date: 7/24/2013 9:13:00 PM
    Free verse is a depiction of your inner emotion and outward reaction to that emotion. Frankly I stopped reading the first one before I ever got to the end of the first verse. It held nothing for me. The second one on the other hand, I could feel in the read what you felt in the write. To me that is true free verse expressed in objective form. Just as the band follows the antics which the leader calls direction, your reader must see and feel some of your emotion in the poem. How well, you express your tempo with staccoto, legato, dots, dashes and punctuation are the heart and soul of free verse. Much more important, I think, than the mere word.

    Login to Reply
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 7/24/2013 9:29:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Interesting viewpoint, Charles. I feel like such a "fence sitter" :D but I am very passionate about words, almost obsessive, really. LOL... ask Bet! Thanks for your comments. They DO make sense.

My Past Blog Posts

How I judge Contests by Cyndi MacMillan
Date Posted: 9/10/2014 9:58:00 PM
Date Posted: 9/8/2014 8:54:00 PM
Date Posted: 9/8/2014 10:25:00 AM
Date Posted: 9/6/2014 6:23:00 PM
Date Posted: 9/4/2014 9:39:00 PM
Grammar and poetry: a Fiction Writer’s Oddball View
Date Posted: 9/2/2014 10:52:00 AM
Date Posted: 8/22/2014 10:47:00 AM
Date Posted: 8/20/2014 9:28:00 AM
Date Posted: 7/15/2014 9:57:00 PM
Date Posted: 7/13/2014 5:19:00 AM
Date Posted: 7/11/2014 9:53:00 PM
Date Posted: 6/11/2014 6:17:00 PM
Date Posted: 6/7/2014 6:56:00 AM
Date Posted: 6/4/2014 10:19:00 PM
Date Posted: 5/27/2014 3:20:00 PM
Date Posted: 5/8/2014 10:21:00 PM
Date Posted: 5/6/2014 9:04:00 AM
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:13:00 AM
Date Posted: 5/4/2014 12:50:00 PM
Date Posted: 4/4/2014 9:32:00 PM
Date Posted: 4/4/2014 4:26:00 PM
Date Posted: 3/27/2014 9:09:00 PM
Date Posted: 3/6/2014 10:20:00 PM
Date Posted: 3/4/2014 9:29:00 PM
Date Posted: 2/26/2014 8:29:00 PM

My Poems

Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
9/4/2014I COMESFree versesexy,
9/2/2014cummings and iVersepoetry,word play,
8/25/2014LIFE WILL BE A HONEYMOONLyricparadise,passion,romantic
8/25/2014HOSTEL, QUEBEC CITY, 1978Free versehistory,places,
6/9/2014THE RETURNSonnetdepression,giving,life,lo
4/21/2014LA MARQUISEFree versepsychological,
4/8/2014BUKOWSKI CONTESTFree versemoving on,power,teenage,
4/4/2014GINGHAM AND LACE, A BLITZ POEMVersedaughter,love,
4/4/2014NUDE, THIRTY DOLLARS, A BLITZVerseart,imagination,lost love
3/24/201450 GODSFree versegod,peace,philosophy,
3/15/2014WINTER IN PORTLANDFree versedepression,winter,
3/11/2014FREEDOM BLUESTail-rhymefreedom,
2/28/2014WELCOME TO THE BLUENOSEAcrosticfish,history,journey,sea,
2/25/2014PITY THE PIRANHAFree verseintrospection,people,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A BOND CROWN, EXAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsfilm,sexy,
2/11/2014ORION: A PERSPECTIVE for third to tenthSonnetmythology,star,
2/10/2014TARTANS, A SONNET FOR FRANCINESonnetfriend,patriotic,places,p
2/9/2014TESTIMONIALS, A SONNET FOR BRIANSonnetfaith,friend,nature,
2/5/2014ON THE FRINGE, A SONNET FOR MARLONSonnetafrica,allegory,culture,f
2/3/2014SUMMERLAND, A SONNET FOR CARRIE RICHARDSSonnetfriend,music,places,poetr
2/2/2014WORD ON THE STREET, 2009, A SONNET FOR DAVIDSonnetbooks,friend,places,poetr

My Photos

Fav Poems

Poem TitleFormCategories
The Sowing Free versedevotion,
Ten Little ToesRhymedaughter,lifeold,old,,gra
Woodland RhapsodyQuatraininspirational
Contradicting KeatsSonnetintrospection,life
Surrender to LoveRhymeloveme,
A Totum Pole OdeConcretenative american,people,
MORE DREAMS TO ROWRhyme royalinspirational,life,
When the Tab Comes DueFree verseinspirational,introspecti
Lighting My Candle From WithinQuintain (English)caregiving,introspection,
The Kirk by the SeaCoupletnostalgia,religion,love,
Moonlight On The WardChokahealth,life,
Nocturnal PoetryRhymeimagination,life,poetry,
FROSTY NIGHT STROLLCoupletinspirational,seasons,
Our ThanksgivingLight Poetryholiday,
Tomorrow's GraceEthereepeace,
A New Star Shines Above HawaiiRhymededication,music,
Jesus, Our SaviorShapereligion,life,
Monarch of SummerHaibunanimals,devotion,inspirat
Midnight PearlsThan-Baukintrospection,love,
Beaucoup BloomsTerza Rimanature,spring,spring,
On Heaven's DoorwayNarrativeinspirational,life,care,c
WALKING ON FAITHVersefaith,for children,
BeachworldFree verseplaces,sea,sun,

Fav Poets

Debbie Guzzi United States Flag United States Read
Caryl Muzzey United States Flag United States Read
Andrea Dietrich United States Flag United States Read
Joe Flach United States Flag United States Read
nette onclaud Philippines Flag Philippines Read
Drake Eszes United States Flag United States Read
Mystic Rose Canada Flag Canada Read
mourning mist France Flag France Read
elizabeth wesley Canada Flag Canada Read
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders United States Flag United States Read
Ruben O. Argentina Flag Argentina Read
Carrie Richards United States Flag United States Read
kathryn collins United States Flag United States Read
Catie Lindsey United States Flag United States Read
craig cornish United States Flag United States Read
David Williams United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Charmaine Chircop Malta Flag Malta Read
Francine Roberts Canada Flag Canada Read
Eileen Manassian Lebanon Flag Lebanon Read
Poet Destroyer A United States Flag United States Read
Faye Gibson United States Flag United States Read